Recent studies suggest that the wide variability in type, detail, and reliability of online information motivate expert searchers to develop procedural search knowledge. In contrast to prior research that has focused on finding relevant sources, procedural search knowledge focuses on how to order multiple relevant sources with the goal of retrieving comprehensive information. Because such procedural search knowledge is neither spontaneously inferred from the results of search engines, nor from the categories provided by domainspecific portals, the lack of such knowledge leads most novice searchers to retrieve incomplete information. In domains like healthcare, such incomplete information can lead to dangerous consequences. To address the above problem, a new kind of domain portal called a Strategy Hub was developed and tested. Strategy Hubs provide critical search procedures and associated high-quality links to enable users to find comprehensive and accurate information. We begin by describing how we collaborated with physicians to systematically identify generalizable search procedures to find comprehensive information about a disease, and how these search procedures were made available through the Strategy Hub. A controlled experiment suggests that this approach can improve the ability of novice searchers in finding comprehensive and accurate information, when compared to general-purpose search engines and domain-specific portals. We conclude with insights on how to refine and automate the Strategy Hub design, with the ultimate goal of helping users find more comprehensive information when searching in unfamiliar domains.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
|Published - Jan 1 2006